Telum Talks To... Catharina Davy, CEO and Co-Founder, Narasi

Telum Talks To... Catharina Davy, CEO and Co-Founder, Narasi

Catharina Davy, also known as Keket, is a veteran Journalist who has worked in the TV industry since 1999. Now, together with Najwa Shihab and Dahlia Citra, she is developing Narasi as their contribution towards shaping a better Indonesia.

What is your routine as Co-Founder and CEO of Narasi?
Meetings, meetings, and meetings. Monday are for internal meetings. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday or weekends are usually for meeting with partners on collaborations we can do or help them with or brainstorming with my team.

Narasi was founded by you, Najwa Shihab, and Dahlia Citra. Why did you and your friends decide to get out of mainstream TV and form in 2017?
Initially, it was started from our concerns on how some of the mainstream TV channels seemed to prioritise ratings. When we worked for TV, we created programmes aimed to educate and inspire, but in the end, they were stopped because based on ratings, most of viewers preferred other types of programmes. Also, often we were faced with not ideal situations because most of the shows that were high on demand and sponsored were programmes with high ratings.

On the other hand, we know the important role the media has in shaping public perception. But then, if you keep following what rates high, then the news will be more about popular issues than the important ones, aka news that is full of conflicts and sensation. Such information does not help to build the critical thinking and creative minds of Indonesians.

This doesn't always mean that good content has bad ratings. There are also a few good pieces of content with good ratings but that is very, very rare, for example, the Mata Najwa programme which is has been airing for 10 years. It needs time to build a good programme, it requires hard work, a strong team, and support from many parties.

But again, how long do you want to prioritise ratings? I believe that published content can influence the way of thinking, shaping the character and habits of the audience. If the content is bad, does not offer perspectives, they may make bad decisions as well in the future. Finally, I chose not to work in TV anymore, better to make something new. Narasi, starting with Mata Najwa, was formed to build critical thinking in society and make them move for a better Indonesia, with content that matches journalism values. 

What makes Narasi different from other media?
At Narasi, we focus on three Cs; content, collaboration and community. The majority of online media in Indonesia today relies more on speed, some even using bots. But who can provide more comprehensive angles? Who can give you more context of news and how it affects your life? Is the fact true, is it verified? Honestly, I'm questioning this verification step in several online media.

We're also infusing journalistic values ​​in our entertainment programmes, not only hard news, such as Tompi - Glenn, Sarah Sechan's Sarah Secharian, and Maudy Ayunda's Maunya Maudy, as well as offline events held by us. Why? Because not everyone wants and can absorb hard news, even though the content is actually important. Like documentaries, the audience is small, but the production is definitely more difficult and expensive.

To make a movement, we can't just rely solely on content too but will have to collaborate with others. Collaboration with other media or with KOL (Key Opinion Leader) for example. We are looking for KOLs with the same value as Narasi.

Finally, we have a community of nearly 190,000 people to amplify the value of the Narasi wherever they are. From Hong Kong, Papua and everywhere. We held workshops and other activities to engage with them and they could learn on how to become quality creators, or at least have good knowledge about the content and its impact on others who watch their content.

What will be the next breakthrough for Narasi?
We're planning to enrich the videos with articles and illustrations. Then, we will also provide a place for our community members who have been netted through this year's workshops to be collaborators at Narasi. We also have plans to work with several OTT (Over-the-Top) media services to produce and air Narasi's content together.

Who is the target audience of Narasi?
The target is actually young people. The range is quite diverse due to Mata Najwa that is airing on TV and has a fairly wide range from ages 15 to 55 years. Apart from that, the range goes from the age of 18 to 35 years. We chose to target the youth because young people should be the one who move Indonesia towards a better direction, starting from their surrounding environment.

What are the challenges in making new media?
The challenge is to understand the digital audience and how to make a new business model. Also, when idealism faces reality. How to make content that is relevant to the needs of our target audience, how Narasi's content could stand out in the midst of content jungle nowadays, and how to keep the business model aligns with our missions.​

Narasi was chosen as the youngest media to be awarded innovation funding from the Google News Initiative last year, can you tell us more?
At that time we had to convince them that we would really use the funding to stimulate more quality content in Indonesia One of the ways was by creating new creators from our community members and equipping them with journalism values through workshops. Another way was how the funding can be used to produce in-depth coverage to provide more context for the last election's reporting. Those two activities required budgets but at the same time both YouTube and Google platforms could also get quality content that is in accordance with the Narasi's mission.

What superpower ability do you want to have?
The ability to control time like Doctor Strange, hahaha...

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